With the corporate takeover of federal and state governments, growing state violence and oppression, a widening wealth gap and the climate crisis, more people are becoming politically active in new and creative ways.
A growing culture of resistance is utilizing nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience as primary tactics, and is forming real democratic organizations to empower local communities—as opposed to working within the corrupt government dominated by a two-corporate party system and within an unfair, big finance, capitalist economy.
PopularResistance.org is a resource and information clearinghouse for this movement of movements. We provide a daily stream of resistance news from the United States and around the world, and a national events calendar. Follow us by signing up for our Daily Digest or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter.
PopularResistance.org also organizes campaigns on a broad range of issues. Check out and sign up for the various campaigns here.
Our mission is to aid in bringing movements for peace and economic, racial and environmental justice together into an independent, nonviolent and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people and put human needs before corporate greed.
You are Popular Resistance. If you are involved in resistance efforts or work to build positive alternatives, send your press releases, blogs or visual media to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting on PopularResistance.org.
We began in January, 2011, when dozens of activists from different parts of the United States came together to organize a people’s occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Inspired by the Arab Spring and modeled after the Indignados Movement in Spain, we sought to transform the country into one that puts human needs before corporate greed by directly occupying public spaces.
After several months of behind-the-scenes planning, we launched our original website (october2011.org) on June 4th, 2011, and called ourselves the October 2011 movement (following the naming tradition used in Spain). In our article, “History is Knocking,” we wrote, “Now is the time to join together and unite our struggles in sustained acts of nonviolent resistance in Washington, D.C.” Many of the initial organizers produced a video that called for people to occupy the nation’s capital.
When Occupy Wall Street spread across the country that Fall, we changed our name to Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza to indicate that we were part of that movement. We had previously endorsed AdBusters’ call to action and also signed a statement of solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street organizers, U.S. Day of Rage. Many of our state and local coordinators in 36 states organized local occupations as part of the Movement.
In June, 2013, after meetings on strategy to determine what we could offer to the growing movement, we launched our new website, PopularResistance.org, importing all the articles and posts from our original website and adding many more tools and resources.
Since then, Popular Resistance has grown beyond a news website to also organize campaigns that fit into our strategy of both resistance and constructive program, to participate in coalitions and to provide weekly movement news, analysis and lessons through our newsletter.
PopularResistance.Org is designed in accordance with the two-prong strategy of resistance and creation (a.k.a. constructive program), and with the knowledge that there is greater strength and opportunity for success when there is solidarity in the work for peace and economic, racial and environmental justice. Below is a brief discussion of goals, strategies and tactics. For a more complete discussion see “History Teaches That We Have the Power to Transform the Nation, Here’s How“.
Our struggles for peace and justice are connected by a common desire to uphold the rights of all living beings and the planet and by a fundamental obstacle, the rule of money, which must end to achieve lasting and effective change. This type of change will require a movement guided by unifying principles and strategy so that when a group employs tactics within that framework, all are advanced closer to the ultimate goal.
The rule of money is a powerful opponent, not one that any individual, single issue organization or coalition can counter alone. Large transnational corporations currently control the political process, the judicial system, the major media outlets and education. The national security state, from the local police to the military, protect the interests of transnational corporations, both overtly through fear and physical repression, and covertly through spying and infiltration.
At times it may feel that such an opponent is impossible to conquer, yet social movements have succeeded in the past. There is a growing body of knowledge to guide us about what factors were important to success and why certain movements failed.
Success is more likely if the movement for change has these characteristics:
• Diversity so that there is not one social group or issue that can be ostracized.
• Acceptance by a broad portion of society so that it is not viewed as a fringe movement.
• Strategic nonviolent direct action so that it garners sympathy from the broader public and clearly demonstrates who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed.
And lasting success is more likely if there is systemic change. Systems do what they are designed to do. Any reform within the current system of rule by wealth will ultimately default to a position of serving the wealthy.
Political systems serve economic systems. A capitalist economy is based on inequality and scarcity. Some portions of the society will have more than they need and others will not have enough. Such inequality requires a security state to control those who do not have enough so that they do not try to rise up and make demands.
This is why we support a two prong approach of resistance and creation. It is not sufficient to protest what we do not want in our society, we must also create alternative systems to replace what exists currently and uphold desired values such as environmental sustainability and human rights.
This two track strategic approach has been used in many successful transformative movements. Mahatma Gandhi changed his emphasis in the mid-1930s, a dozen years before independence from the British Empire, to work focused on building economically self-reliant communities from below (sardovaya, or social uplift for all). This became an adjunct to the strategy he is most known for, satyagraha (noncooperation and civil disobedience to unjust laws). Gandhian economics meant thousands of self-sufficient small communities with self-rule and the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level joined together in a cooperative federation of village republics. This is book-ended by the Gandhian social ideal of dignity of labor, equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom.
We call this dual track approach: Stop the Machine, Create a New World, where we protest what we oppose and build what we want.
With corrupt and dysfunctional government and representatives selected in a mirage of managed democracy, people need to build their own non-hierarchical democratic institutions that bring people together to solve community problems, pool talents, resources and energy and allow real democracy to be practiced. This can happen at the local level or the national.
We seek a system-wide transformation and to accomplish that we need to build a mass movement working together. In building the movement, we need to pull people from the power structure to the movement. This includes nine specific groups (pillars of power): youth, workers, civil servants, non-governmental organizations, religious institutions, media, business, police and military. Members of these groups need to see that what we are working for will build a better life for them, their families and communities. As we pull people from these groups to the movement, we get stronger and the power structure weakens.
When we work toward a common vision in a strategic framework that we agree on, there are hundreds of tactics, proven effective by their use throughout history. These tactics have worked to transform government, society and culture. This also allows people to work together across issues. Solidarity between workers, environmental and racial justice and civil rights activists, those in the independent and citizen’s media, people working for health care, housing and food justice, and end to empire, militarism and war – creates the kind of mass movement of movements that will transform the country in ways that today we can only imagine.
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